~ 31 March 2004 ~

The Culture of Therapy v. The Culture of Wisdom

Russell Moore’s lament on the loss of the doctrine of sin in dealing with wife-beaters has me thinking about just how pervasive the “culture of therapy” has become. I think that psychology has a valuable place in the world as a discipline, but in a sense it has become the official religion of secularism.

If students in school are problematic, they’re advised to see a counselor. Anyone today who suffers emotional trauma but rejects counseling is likened to a cancer patient who refuses chemotherapy. Moore highlights the therapy groups that supposedly help spouse-abusers come to terms with “the psychological roots of their violent behavior.”

Christians must walk a fine line when it comes to psychology, because the canon of therapy is in more than a few places at odds with the canon of Scripture. In many theraputic models, no one is a fault for anything. Most counseling is done post-traumatic-event. It is reactionary, trying to assess the root of the problem.

I’ve been reading through the book of Proverbs recently, and I see a different kind of counseling modeled here. It is a counsel of wisdom that is pre-emptive, one that says things like, “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.” (Proverbs 3:3) Of course, things of this nature will not be found in the pop wisdom that governs the culture of therapy.

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2 Comments:

  1. Ochuk » 31 March 2004:

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot. For a long time I was really in to the Boundaries books (Cloud/Townsend?) and Celebrate Recovery (Rick Warren and Jim Baker). It was really helpful in identifying patterns of thinking, and tried to stay close to the bible.

    But it didn’t help as much the Reformed doctrine of Justification. I think they all worked together to help me through some things, but Sola Gratia (s?) was pretty foundational.

  2. Jared Bridges » 1 April 2004:

    Ochuck,

    I think you’re right that they must be used together–the problem I see is that so many people jump to psychology first, find what they’re looking for there, and then move on without ever getting to biblical wisdom. They problem is that “what we’re looking for” might not always be what we need.

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